The Football League have confirmed their intention to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting later this month. The 72 Member clubs are invited to attend the EGM on Thursday 25th April, with one item on the agenda - the future of League One side Coventry City and their position in the League for the 2019-20 season.
The Sky Blues will see their leasehold agreement at the Ricoh Arena finish at the end of the 2018-19 season, and with Coventry's owners SISU currently in the middle of a legal dispute over the sale of the stadium, current stadium owners Wasps are not prepared to enter into discussions about providing a new agreement. As such, Coventry are about to become homeless and cannot tell the League where they are likely to be playing next season.
With no firm solution on the table, Coventry will become in breach of Football League rules concerning the hosting of fixtures at a stable venue within the town/city that club is associated with. The League say that they are still waiting for a report from their Executive concerning what options Coventry may or may not have, but due to the notice that is required to raise an EGM, they have communicated the date to all clubs now:
"The EFL has today (Tuesday) written to its member Clubs to update them on the matter of where Coventry City will play their home games in 2019-20. The Board is due to receive a full update from the Executive on Thursday 11 April, which will cover the various options that have been put forward by the Club and any further developments that arise in the intervening period. The Board had previously set the date of Thursday 25 April for an Extraordinary General Meeting to consider the Club's expulsion from the League if clarity on a venue could not be provided. Due to a requirement to give Clubs at least 21 days notice in advance of that meeting, the League has formally convened the EGM today."
The wording strongly suggests that if Coventry do find an obvious solution, such as an agreement for a new lease at the Ricoh Arena, then the EGM would be cancelled. However, if that is not found, or of the solution is contentious, then the EGM would take place. Over the past fortnight, there has been speculation via Sky Sports that up to five clubs in the Midlands area have offered Coventry a groundshare agreement - something that Coventry have said has some substance to it, given that they say they are "in talks" with other clubs. However, the EFL's original instructions to Coventry were for them to find a venue within six miles of the city centre, meaning that the League would need to compromise, given there are no obvious alternative venues in that area that would be capable of staging League One fixtures.
It appears that Coventry are attempting to negotiate on two lines - one is for Wasps to give them a short lease agreement at the Ricoh Arena that will at least allow them time to find a new home. The other concerns a plot of land at Woodlands School, which closed in July 2016, which is situated on the West side of the City that could potentially be used as the site to build a brand new stadium. But of course, all parties would want a firm commitment and a timeline in place to ensure that any groundshare was on a strict short term basis, whilst Wasps may still expect the current legal action by Sisu to be suspended or dropped in return for even a short lease agreement.
Coventry have indicated that they plan to give the EFL an update on where they are, prior to the April 11th Executive meeting, and what options they have on the table.
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